Thoughts on life and Scripture...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Scoffers and Church Discipline

"Drive out a scoffer, and strife will go out, and quarreling and abuse will cease."
Proverbs 22:10
What is the scoffer like and why is this drastic solution given to the problem of the scoffer? To help us answer these questions, we'll briefly look at how a scoffer is described in Proverbs. Scoffers are those who delight in sin. They like scoffing or mocking the truth. Proverbs 1:22. To rebuke or correct a scoffer is useless and in fact, he might turn on you and do you harm. Proverbs 9:7-8. A scoffer may seek wisdom, but his search is in vain for his heart is not in the right condition. Proverbs 14:6. Scoffers don't like to be rebuked and reject correction. Proverbs 13:1, 15:12. Scoffer don't learn from beatings or any form of physical punishment. The only benefit to beating a scoffer is that others may learn from their punishment. Proverbs 21:11, 20:25, 29.  Scoffers are proud and arrogant which is to say, there is no fear of God in their hearts and lives. Proverbs 21:24. Scoffers can destroy a city with their arrogant and stubborn behavior. Proverbs 29:8. This is how Proverbs presents the scoffer.
The only way to deal with this type of person when he is in the company of the godly is to drive him out. Don't let him continue to be in your presence. As long as he is there, there is only misery and trouble. No other solution will do. Talking, instructing, rebuking, or correcting him are useless. Punishment is useless. He needs to leave, now!
If you listen well to God's wisdom here, you will find that a lot of trouble will leave with the scoffer. The scoffer produces strife, division, discord, quarreling, abuse, disgrace, and shame. If he goes so will all these problems. So many problems could be avoided if we would listen to what God says
While this proverb doesn't speak of church discipline, it certainly relates to it and anticipates it. Titus 3:10-11 says, "As for a person who stirs up divisions, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned." The person described in Titus is the person who is called the scoffer in Proverbs. Church disciple is needed for the individual in sin and for the church. Warning someone in sin with love is needed so that they will leave their sin and return to God in repentance. These people are in serious danger and need to be warned. If they refuse to listen to the warning of the church, then they must leave. Their presence will infect the whole church with trouble. "Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened." 1 Corinthians 5:6-7. So many church problems can be avoided if we correctly, quickly, and lovingly remove such people from our congregations. One bad apple can ruin a whole church and bring great shame to christians and to Jesus Christ. Removing such a person from our midst will also warn others in the church. Some may wake up from their simple and foolish lives. They will see that sin is serious in the eyes of the church and of God. They may turn from their sin. Church discipline is painful, but it will have a very sanctifying influence in the church.

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